‘West End or dressage’ choice sealed for pony rider starring at Winter Dressage Championships

  • A 12.2hh pony proved he could mix it with the big guns in the Baileys Horse Feeds Novice Freestyle Gold Championship at the 2024 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships. Glenlichd Fair Un Square, ridden by a beaming 14-year-old Violet Hawkins, scored 70.28%, with Pam Bushell the judge at C awarding them 73.89%. The class was won by Jezz Palmer on Toddington Debut (75.37%).

    Fair Un Square, a 14-year-old by Llanarth Charmer, strutted around the blue-lit indoor arena at Addington like a horse twice his size, with his purposeful walk and medium canter the highlights.

    “He definitely knows he’s as important as all the other horses,” said Violet. “Everyone is always coming up to him and telling him how sweet he is. We are wondering if he’s the smallest ever pony in the gold section.”

    Violet has been riding the pony since she was nine years old.

    “In Covid, I was with him all day every day, I did everything with him – and I think that’s what makes our bond so strong,” she said. “He does a bit of jumping, we did some showing last year, and qualified for Olympia, but it was frustrating always coming second!

    “He’s one of those that just tries the absolute best whatever you ask him, he’ll say ‘OK, I’ll give that a try’.”

    With his dinky Welsh Section B face, melting butter springs to mind, but he’s a feisty character.

    “He’s sassy, very sassy, and sweet – and always hungry!” she said.

    2024 Winter Dressage Championships: “A showman who makes me smile”

    Violet’s big grin as she rode through her freestyle routine matched the grey’s bonny attitude and she explained how he makes her smile throughout her test.

    “I used to have to make myself smile, but it just comes naturally riding him, he’s a showman and he just loves his music. I really wanted to ride him in there today.”

    Violet chose her eclectic music, which included The Lovecats, for Fair Un Square back in 2020.

    “It’s quite jazzy and not all judges like it, but if they do, they really love it and it suits him really well,” she says. “I started him on it in unaffiliated prelim and have moved it on to the long arena and novices. If I play Lovecats at home, he knows it’s his music.”

    Fair Un Square isn’t the only performer in this partnership. Just before Covid hit, Violet was shortlisted for a part in Matilda, when all theatre was stopped. Instead, in lockdown, she switched all her attention to dressage.

    “It was her sliding doors moment,” said her mum. “It could have been the West End or dressage.”

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